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ponch37300 02-15-2009 07:37 PM

4 way switch wiring
I moved a switch for my mom that is for two lights in a hallway. The switch I moved had 2 14-2 wires in it on a 4way switch, there are 2 3way switches in other places down the hallway. I moved the 4way switch and 2 wires and put in a new 4way switch. Now it doesn't work at all the switches, like when you wire a 3way switch wrong. I tried wiring the 4 way switch all possible ways but still didn't work right. Mom says she doesn't remember if all the switches always worked right.

First, what is the correct way to wire a 4way switch? It is a pass and Seymour and there are 2 screws on each side of the switch. Does the black and white from one wire go on one side and the other black and white on the other side or do the whites go on one side and the blacks on the other?

Second, Is it possible to wire a 4way switch with only 2 14-2 wires? All 4ways I have seen have been ran with 14-3 wires. I drew a picture and and on paper it seems like you would be able to wire a 4way up with 2 14-2 wires but I'm not sure.

Thanks for any advice on this.

wirenut1110 02-15-2009 08:00 PM
Sorry it's so big A p&S switch, they go on the sides.

ponch37300 02-15-2009 08:35 PM

Thanks wirenut. Guess I will do some more digging into this issue tomorrow and see if I can figure out how they wired this thing.

Yoyizit 02-15-2009 08:41 PM

I'd bypass the 4way with two wires from the travelers of the two three way switches and get that part working first, the two 3ways.

The 4 way is a double pole double throw switch with only 4 terminals (instead of six) brought out, strapped internally with two wires to do this function.
Confirm that it works with an ohmmeter before reinstalling it.
Two travelers from one 3way go to the two 4 way wipers and the other two travelers go to the other two terminals on the 4way.

ponch37300 02-15-2009 08:54 PM

Thanks yoyizit. That is a good idea to get the 3ways working first. The 4way switch is brand new so I would hope it is working but how do I go about ohming it out?

Yoyizit 02-15-2009 08:59 PM


Originally Posted by ponch37300 (Post 230943)
The 4way switch is brand new so I would hope it is working but how do I go about ohming it out?

Let's call the terminals Wiper 1 and Wiper 2 and Term 1 and Term 2.
If you're on W1 they'll be continuity to either T1 or T2, and when you flip the switch the continuity will go to the other T terminal.
Same with W2.
There should never be continuity between W1 & W2, nor between T1 & T2, no matter how the switch is flipped.

Then, W1 and W2 go to the travelers from one 3 way, and T1 & T2 go to the other two travelers from the other 3 way switch.

I'd guess the two wiper screws would be somehow identified from the other two terminals.

If you do testing with power applied, there are phantom voltages on the travelers so use an incandescent test lamp across your voltmeter leads.

ponch37300 02-15-2009 09:10 PM

Thanks yoyizit. I will do some testing tomorrow and try and figure this out. Hopefully it is just wired wrong or else I will be back for more help!

Yoyizit 02-15-2009 09:11 PM

If you get it to work and
the wire colors are such that the next person who works on this understands it and
it meets NEC requirements,
you have done extremely well.

AllanJ 02-16-2009 09:46 AM

It's easier if your 4 way switch has two terminals darker than the other two.

The two travelers from one cable go to the two lighter screws and the two travelers
from the other cable go to the two darker screws.

The two dark screws are the W1 and W2 and the two light screws are the T1 and T2.

It is possible to wire up 4 way switches using 14-2 cable for the travelers. The third
wire that may be connected to a 3 way switch is not connected to a 4 way switch.

Did you take apart anything else in the box? The "third conductor" associated with 3 way
switches probably comes through that box and if you did not put it back the way it was,
then the 4 way setup won't work.

220/221 02-16-2009 09:58 AM

Yeah, there are only two ways (probably) that this could be hooked up. One cable in, one cable out.

I can never remember if the pairs go to the top/bottom or left right on 4w switches.

Not that I've ever done it but 4w switches can also look a lot like 240V switches :jester: except for the on/off thing

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